FOOTNOTES TO “A CIS-TIBETAN RAMBLE”
[The Theosophist, Vol. III, No. 12, August, 1882, p. 264]
[Captain A. Banon gives an interesting account of his travels in the Gungotri Valley and his visit to Thuling, in Tibet, where there is a lamasery belonging to the red-cap monks. He says: “The Thuling Lamas are great sorcerers; and can kill people at a distance by simply willing it.” H. P. B. comments on this:]
That they are possessed of great mesmeric powers is a fact. A month passed in their edifying company is conducive neither to spiritual enlightenment, nor purification of morality.
[The writer’s reference to “miracles performed by the Lamas” is commented upon by H. P. B.:]
Not by the high Lamas, or “Yellow-Caps,” who will never perform anything before a promiscuous crowd. But there will be “religious mysteries” in every great and small Lamasery, and the “Panchhen Rimpoche” or the High Lama of Tashi-Lhünpo, with all his gen-dun (clergy), will be investing newly-initiated gelungs with ngo-dhüb, or spiritual powers: for this year marks the end of an important cycle. But this is never performed publicly, but only behind the impassable barrier of the private sanctuaries of the Lamaseries, the Lha-khang, or inner temple.
[“The people of Tibet are much oppressed, as the eldest son in every family is made a Lama.”]
Our friend and correspondent was misinformed. This custom is a religious one, and weighs upon the Tibetans less than that of the Hindus in the performance of their caste and religious duties. They would not give it up, if they could.
[The writer states that it is the habit of officials, while passing through the country, to loot the people.]
True; but only in regard to Chinese officials, not to Tibetans.
[“In spite of the miraculous powers of the Lamas, the country is misgoverned, and they seem a helpless lot”]
How does our correspondent know? Is it by relying on the information of a few illiterate native traders he might have talked with?
[“At the beginning of the present century, they could not prevent the Nepaulese army sacking and pillaging the great Lamasery of Tashi-Lhünpo.”]
Again, an error based upon the European ignorance about the real state of affairs in Tibet. In the first place, the Gelukpas, or Yellow-Caps, would rather submit to any sacrifice than to kill people—even their greatest enemies; such brutality is left to the Dug-pa sorcerers. Then it was not “at the beginning of the present century,” that the Nepaulese army sacked and pillaged the great Lamasery of Tashi-Lhünpo, but in 1792; and in that year the Tashi-Lama was a child hardly ten years old, and his Regent, Chan-tyu Kusho, the brother of the late Tashi-Lama, was no “miracle-producing” Lama, but a layman; and, in the presence of a “Reincarnation,” or a reincarnated Bodhisattva (such as was the Tashi-Lama’s successor), no subordinate Lama, however high may be his powers, can, under their laws, take the responsibility of any initiatory step in a difficult political medley, unless the Tashi-Lama gives personally his orders—and the little Lama did not give any. The details are well known. and the reasons plain.
[“A year or two ago, three Chinese Lamas came to Nilang, and, after being well treated, commenced to kill and eat the cattle, and ended up by ravishing some Jad women.”]
Again, these Lamas were probably of the Dug-pa sects and were not Tibetans, since they were Chinese, and our belief is that it would be difficult to find any “Yellow-Cap” guilty of such a crime. Therefore, this is no case in point.